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Behind the scenes at Waco Transit System

Posted at 5:56 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 07:20:47-05

WACO, TX — Waco Transit System has 125 employees. We see the bus drivers every day, but what about the other handful that are taking care of us behind the scenes?

It takes a village to manage Waco Transit, and it starts with the dispatchers.

Cathy Middleton works up front, answering questions to those who call looking for their bus and keeping track of the drivers.

Coming in every morning, she starts with assigning drivers to their route and from there, she gets to talk to her riders, her favorite part.

"Sometimes I can just recognize the number and say, 'hey what do you need?" Middleton said. "But, I love my customers, I love my customers."

Middleton isn't the only dispatcher. There are others like Danielle Carroll who takes care of a different route, offering help to the drivers who are assisting ADA, rural and special pick ups.

When someone cancels and the bus driver needs help on what to do next, they'll call her for help.

"They can grab that [next] person that's going to Washington drop off at South Waco, then take the person to Washington where they're going," Carroll said.

When asked about how quickly it is to memorize the routes, she says since she helps create them, it's pretty easy. Although the job isn't always easy.

"I've had multiple people having seizures aboard the bus," Carroll said.

When incidents happen, the drivers once again turn to Carroll. It's her job to stay calm and help the driver with any situation that they encounter.

"If I freak out, they're going to definitely freak out. I can't put them in a situation where they're panicking and they have people aboard," Carroll said.

There is also Michele Olmos, who schedules those pick ups and drop offs for Carroll. Without the schedulers like Olmos, the private pick ups wouldn't run as smoothly. She loves hearing the calls she gets from riders about their gratitude.

"Thank you so much. Without you guys, we wouldn't know what to do or where to go. The good thing about the ADA is not just for medical purposes. For grocery buying, you can go to the grocery store, you can got to the movies," Olmos said.

On the other hand, none of these buses would be working if it wasn't for the maintenance crew.

"We play a pretty vital role in ensuring the equipment's up time is there when the demand is greatest," said Steve Edgar, Director of Maintenance.

Most of the Waco Transit buses run 12-hour shifts. Being able to work on them in house helps with the upkeep.

"They live a pretty hard life," Edgar said.

Of course, the drivers are the most grateful for the work that all of these three do.

"If it wasn't for the dispatchers, ya know, they are like our eyes out there when we can't see anything," Carolyn Gilbert, driver said. "They get the first call when there's a detour or there's a wreck."

Waco Transit can't operate with just one of these jobs, they have to have them all in place to ensure our ease when riding Waco Transit.

For more information on the Waco Transit system, visit their website.